(from left) Madeline Baugher, of NASA Space Grant program, Steve Stone and SWOSU assistant professor Doug Linder.
Steve Stone, a sophomore at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, was recently awarded a NASA scholarship for his research in the area of disease states. Stone is a chemistry and math major from Nacoma
The main goal of the research is to further study a group of zinc containing hydrolytic enzymes called the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). These MMPs have been implicated in a host of disease states, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis and cancer.
Through studies, Stone said it is hoped to learn more of how to inhibit these particular enzymes so as to limit the damages they cause. In particular, using computational quantum chemical techniques, the influence of the active site zinc geometry on the catalytic mechanism of action will be studied. Small models of the zinc active site will be constructed, energies will be calculated, and the results will be analyzed to determine how and to what extent changes in the zinc active site geometry (bond angles and lengths) influence the catalytic properties of the enzyme.
“With these results, we hope to establish a new paradigm to develop effective enzymeinhibitors,” Stone said. SWOSU is a member of the NASA Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium, which provides scholarship funds for students in science and technology areas at member institutions. SWOSU matches these funds with an equivalent amount of its own.
All scholarship awardees are required to volunteer 10 hours of their time to either the Stafford Air and Space
The grant principle investigator is Madeline Baugher, faculty member in the SWOSU Department of Entrepreneurship and Computer Systems. Students may submit research proposals for a spring funding cycle until January 31, 2009. A description of the program and an application may be found at http://www.swosu.edu/academics/compsci/nasagrant.asp
Oklahoma City design, housing and merchandising junior, Stephanie Michalko’s weave of orange, black, gray and white threads received the most votes for her original tartan plaid design in on-line balloting.
In September OSU students who had completed a course in textiles were eligible for the competition to design an original plaid that reflects the OSU spirit. Four finalists were selected and voting began in October.
Michalko said she was excited to have her design chosen. “I am an interior design major, but I am very interested in textiles and their use in interior design,” Michalko said. “This was a great experience to be able to apply what I have learned.”
College of Human Environmental Sciences professors Paulette Hebert and Lynne Richards directed the competition.
“We felt this would be a meaningful way design, housing and merchandising students could learn how a product is developed from the idea to the creation,” Hebert said.
Pendleton stadium blankets and scarves will be the first items produced using the OSU Tartan. Judy Barnard, OSU director of trademarks and licensing, who assisted with the project, expects a number of products from stationery to kilts to be available soon in the plaid.
The OSU plaid will be registered with the Scottish Tartans World Register in Scotland and Ireland where tartans are used to identify families the OSU Tartan will be another sign of membership in the OSU family.
Oklahoma City University will have its fall commencement ceremony at 4 p.m. Dec. 19 in the university’s wellness center, 2501 N Blackwelder.
Heather Sparks will be the featured speaker. Sparks is the 2009 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year recipient and an OCU graduate. She teaches mathematics at Taft Middle School.
In 2007, she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Also during the commencement, Jacque Fiegel and Cathy Leichter will be given the Oklahoma Servant Leader Award.
Fiegel is president of the university’s alumni association and Leichter volunteered with various fundraising projects.
The NAACP has established a college chapter at Cameron University in
Anthony Douglas, president of the state NAACP conference, said the election of President -elect Barack Obama has inspired more young adults to become civically active.
To learn more about NAACP, visit www.NAACP.org.
That’s why the Education Writers Association is planning a glossary of terms for journalists.
Some of the terms EWA may define for reporters like me are: scaffolding, data-driven decision making, intervention, mainstreaming, critical thinking, rubric and formative assessment.
I used to have a rubric’s cube …. but not sure what those other words mean. (Yes, I know it’s a Rubik’s Cube!)
Of course, journalists have their own brand of jargon that educators may not understand. A “lede” is the beginning of a news story. A “mug” is generally a head-shot and not a police line-up.
What edu-speak do you use or not understand? Let me know and we’ll figure it out.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
I ran across this story in The Enid News & Eagle earlier this month.
Because of street closings and rearrangements, etc., Eisenhower Elementary School will be within Vance Air Force Base’s boundaries.
The effect of this likely will be minimal, as 70 percent of the school’s students have parents who work on the base and thus have access. The remaining 30 percent, however, must obtain a pass to drop off and pick up their children, the newspaper reported.
“They will have to gain access through the main gate, just like everybody else,” a Vance official told the newspaper. “They will be passed through the gate, allowed to proceed directly to the school to pick up or drop off children. They will be issued a base pass to facilitate that.”
Those seeking passes will be briefed on rules of driving on Vance, which differ from civilian traffic laws. For example, driving while talking on a cell phone is prohibited, the newspaper reported.
And NO FIREARMS, even during deer season.
School employees also must obtain passes.
There are benefits to having children on base, Vance officials told the newspaper. Increased security is a huge one.
In the event of a base exercise that limits base access, Vance is working out details.
Does this mean extra days off school? Just asking.
Here’s a parental conundrum:
Your academically-gifted child is a shoe-in to be accepted into many fine universities. But instead of sending out applications, your child says he wants to take a year off after high school: a time of self-discovery, travel or good-deedery.
In Britain, such gap years are popular among youth. But here, it can seem pretty scary to families that don’t want their child to fall off the get-a-college-degree-or-else wagon.
I took two gap years. I had no money to travel and volunteerism was not on my radar. I just wasn’t ready to commit to the rigors of college work, socially or academically.
Instead I took a series of minimum wage jobs that eventually made me realize I wanted more out of life. I enrolled in college more focused and mature.
Obviously not every student is the same. Some will travel Europe, get inspired by the old structures and decide to become an architect. Others might simply laze around their parents house, and use their gap year as a nap year.
What do you think? Have you or your child taken a year off before college? Was it rewarding?
I always enjoy the e-mails I receive from Caveon Test Security.
I met representatives from the Utah company at an education journalism conference, where they presented ways to detect cheating on standardized tests. Obviously they were unwilling to give up their trade secrets, which, from what I can tell, consist of sophisticated statistical analysis, but their presentation nonetheless was useful in explaining irregularities that could catch a reporter’s eye.
And they had the catchiest poster I think I’ve ever seen — a “Ten Most Wanted Cheaters” in full Old West regalia. “Robin Hood” and the “Time Traveler” were my favorites. The titles pretty much speak for themselves.
As The Dallas Morning News has reported in recent years, cheating, in Texas and likely elsewhere, is common and rarely investigated thoroughly. In response to the newspaper’s articles that exposed widespread suspicion of cheating on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test, the Texas Education Agency hired Caveon to investigate.
Which brings us back to the Caveon e-mails. They always offer cheating snippets I wouldn’t have run across myself.
Cheating apparently isn’t restricted to the children of ulcer-inducing, living vicariously, I-want-my-child-to-be-chief-justice-of-the-Supreme-Court-or-at-least-an-NFL-player parents. Or to kids in schools that stand to be blacklisted if they don’t perform well.
This one is too good to be made up — Bulgaria
“In Bulgaria a medical student named Georghe Dimitriov used a government walkie-talkie (which belonged to his father) to cheat on an exam. Cheating became the least of Georghe’s problems as his exam just happened to coincide with a trip to Bulgaria by President George W. Bush. As Georghe was gathering test answers from his accomplice, United States Secret Service agents happened upon the conversation. Thinking they might be on to a terrorist plot agents raided the university and discovered Georghe in a bathroom scribbling notes.
“Georghe was detained for 24 hours — found innocent of a terrorist plot — but failed the exam,” according to the Caveon e-mail.
Some other fun stuff from Caveon:
1 > Chinese Arrest Three in Wi-Fi Exam Cheating Caper
Campus Technology – Chatsworth, CA, USA
…The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that three people have been arrested for using Wi-Fi microphones to cheat on national college entrance exams. The exams, which are “make or break” rites of academic passage, are considered state secrets before the tests, Xinhua reported…
2 > Cheating the system
Texas A&M The Battalion – College Station, TX, USA
…My name is Kevin, and I’m a cheater. I won’t specify any classes or rat out any accomplices, but I cheated in high school and I’ve cheated in college. Cheating is a near-irresistible force….
3 > Cheating Cheaters of the Chance
Washington Post – United States
…As Washington area students complete final exams, teachers are using whatever means possible to expose cheaters, or at least scare them off before they try. Although cheating has been monitored at least since the advent of the No. 2 pencil, many teachers and students say enforcement has become more aggressive than ever. No longer do teachers simply rearrange chairs or walk around the room to proctor a test….
4 > Hanoi police nab man for organizing university exam fraud
Thanh Nien Daily – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
…Nguyen Van Vinh, 27, was caught red-handed by the police while delivering forged entrance exam admittance forms and identity cards to his henchmen. Vinh, from the central Nghe An province, promised to secure university seats for ‘clients’ for a payment of VND40 million, half of it in advance. He would forge documents, swapping the photos on the candidates’ ID cards and exam entry forms for those of his men who would then take the test on their behalf….
5 > Why some teachers cheat
Newsday – Long Island, NY, USA
…Of all the questions parents are asking about Uniondale’s test-fraud scandal, one is especially vexing: Why?
Why would a teacher or administrator risk a job to boost test scores by cheating?
The answer isn’t as obvious as it seems. It’s not simply money. Long Island schools don’t give pay incentives to educators who raise test scores.
“Any time a test becomes a high-stakes event, when educators are judged on how well kids score, then there’s pressure for educators to look good,” said W. James Popham, a testing expert at University of California, Los Angeles….
6 > Experts called to sniff out fraud
Newsday – Long Island, NY, USA
…”We use the results that are in the data, but we have a special kind of analysis to tease it out,” said John Fremer, president of Caveon, a company that started four years ago to help schools, companies and the military find test fraud. Some of the techniques Caveon uses would surprise test-takers. With “erasure analysis,” for example, an electronic scanner or a human reviews answer sheets to see how many answers were changed. Then computers crunch the numbers to look for unusual patterns….
7 > The Pervasiveness of Cheating
…In its modern form, the “gaokao” winnows out the superior from the average. Some students see it as their only way out a life of poverty and dismal future. Yet with close to 10 million applicants competing for 5.7 million slots at various national universities, the pressure to perform is overwhelming and has in many cases led to suicides. …
8 > How To Cheat With Your iPod
The Gadgets Page
…The end of the school year is looming, which means this is the big final test of the year. How are you going to study? Do you even have to study? When you can carry the breadth and depth of human knowledge in your iPod, should you be required to memorize all those dates and names? Isn’t it more important to know HOW to find information from reliable resources? Isn’t it more important to know WHICH information should be included?…
9 > An exam so crucial, life in China grinds to a halt
Philadelphia Inquirer – Philadelphia, PA, USA
…Unlike the United States, where standardized test scores are just one factor weighed by universities, how Chinese students do on the gaokao determines everything. Students list their top three schools and their major and hope their score is high enough to win a place. Extracurricular activities do not count, and neither do high school grades. And forget writing about volunteer work; there are no essays to persuade admissions officers. The Ministry of Education says only 5.7 million students – or 60 percent of those who take the test – will be able to enter college….
On a trip to Barnes & Noble yesterday, I made my usual tour of the bargain book aisles. One clearance item caught my attention: Paris Hilton’s “Heiress Diary,” — published several years ago when she was a mere party-girl socialite and still enjoyed wearing the color orange.
No, I didn’t buy the book. I didn’t even pick it up. But I got to thinking. Is that part of her life over? Did she finally grow up? It seemed that way in last week’s People magazine, where she was photographed wearing demure clothing in subdued shades, sans fake eyelashes.
Paris told fans on her Web site this week to have a fun July 4th, but not to drink and drive. Did that change anyone’s mind … did they hand over their keys to a designated driver?
It probably did have an impact, as Paris seems to have all kinds of influence over fashion, slang and “how-tos.”
I’m sure you remember in high school when Students Against Drunk Driving or another well-meaning group brought in speakers warning against the dangers of drunk driving. The speaker might have been a victim of drunk driving — a grieving mother of an innocent child. It might have been a drunk driver, telling a sad tale of poor judgement and second chances. Maybe there was a smashed-up car parked in front of the school — a jarring visual reminder of tragedy that could have been avoided.
Will Paris ever visit a school and tell of her tramatic few days in jail, forced to wear an orange jump suit and given food so bad that she actually lost weight during her stint?
Will it make a difference? Probably. And if that’s what it takes to get the message across, then I’m not sure it’s a bad idea.
When a teacher, administrator, CEO, IT person or otherwise suggests the need for better data collection, those of us who aren’t in the above categories often replay old commercial jingles in our heads.
Data, however, is as much a part of No Child Left Behind and the future of public education as high-stakes tests and labeling schools.
Digital Directions, a new publication of Education Week, reports: For five years, NCLB No Child Left Behind Act has increased demands on schools to put in place new and better systems to collect and analyze data.
Sounds simple enough, but it’s not. Collecting data in a useful way seldom is simple.
“Now that Congress is working to renew the law, educators’ hunger for data probably will grow, as will the demand for technology leaders to deliver the information to teachers, administrators, and policymakers in ways that they can use it to improve student achievement. Supporters of the law are floating ideas that would evaluate teachers on the test scores of their students, for example. Members of Congress also are proposing to help schools create a series of tests that track students’ learning in preparation for end-of-year assessments,” Digital Directions reported.
The magazine predicts principals and teachers will want numbers that give them clues about how to meet NCLB’s goal of ensuring all students meeting “proficient” standards in reading and math by 2013-14.
“I don’t think this is going to go away, with or without No Child Left Behind,” Julie A. Marsh, a policy researcher at the RAND Corp., a Santa Monica, Calif.-based think tank, said of the appetite for better data. “I think it’s here to stay.”
This is important for Oklahoma City Public Schools because new Superintendent John Q. Porter has made technology improvement — and with it, better data collection — a hallmark of his education career. We can expect to see this continue during his tenure here.
An Aspen Institute panel has laid out a plan that would evaluate teachers based on their students’ scores on state tests. States would rate teachers according to students’ progress during an academic year.
Teachers who ranked below the 25th percentile would receive intensive professional development. Those who continued to be in the bottom quartile would be unable to teach in schools that receive Title I funds.
“While the Aspen plan is just one proposal, it is a sign that policy experts are looking to data analysis to answer a pressing question: How do schools identify effective and ineffective teachers?” the magazine reported.
It continued, “To meet the demand for such information, school districts will have to overhaul their instructional materials and their data systems to ensure that they are useful to teachers, helping them track students’ academic progress and identify the interventions necessary to keep them on course.”
Technology officers probably won’t need to start all over, the magazine predicted.
Information districts already collect could be combined and made more usable.
I can say firsthand that knowing exactly what information a school district collects is a challenge. I’m sure it’s equally so for a henpecked administrator.
“Because existing data systems were designed to meet specific purposes, such as reporting attendance rates to state officials or registering students for high school courses, they can’t create comprehensive reports on specific students or of groups of them,” the magazine reported. “In a data-driven world, however, those systems need to be able to deliver numbers that teachers can use in real time.”
Right now, the magazine reported, many teachers don’t see much value in the student scores they receive from state tests, according to a recent online survey by the Teachers Network, a New York City-based coalition of districts and nonprofits that provides professional development for teachers. Although the survey participants were self-selected, the 5,600 respondents suggest that teachers aren’t getting much help from current test results.
“We should be looking at multiple assessments,” says Ellen Meyers, a vice president of the Teachers Network.
I’m by no means an expert, but one theme I see running through successful charter schools, and even some traditional public schools, is frequent benchmark testing. Teachers and administrators know at any time exactly where their students are.